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News Link • Iraq

What the Kurdish Referendum Means for the Future of Iraq

• UNZ.com by Patrick Cockburn

We could see no cars from Kirkuk coming towards us, which might mean that there was fighting still going on.

We could see abandoned Iraqi army camps beside the road but no looters, a bad sign in Iraq in wartime where only extreme danger will deter looters from trying to grab the richest pickings. We were havering about what to do, when a car appeared from the direction of Kirkuk whose driver leaned out the window to shout: "It is finished – the way to Kirkuk is open."

An orgy of looting was going on inside the city, with the theft of everything from mattresses to fire engines. I saw two looters drive away a large yellow bulldozer they had just stolen. The Kurdish Peshmerga had taken over the city a few hours earlier, saying that they were there to fill the vacuum left by the disintegration of the Iraqi army and to restore order, though they did little to stop the looters.

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